Ariel Biggs is a 23-year-old Washington State native with engineering in her brain and race car driving in her heart. After using her background in the motorsport industry to teach STEM summer camps at the World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon, Ariel connected with SWE HQ about SWENext. She wanted to be able to teach STEM skills and inspire more students to pursue their dreams.
Ariel has since become one of our SWENext role models, hosting our flagship events, Invent it. Build it. and DesignLab, and spreading her love for engineering, education and motorsports. She juggles that with a busy schedule on the track and earning a pre-engineering degree at College of the Canyons in Southern California. She hopes to attend Michigan State or Oregon State and study aerospace engineering with minors in quantum physics and kinesiology.
SWE: Tell us about your background in Racing.
AB: My dad and grandpa both raced dirt stock cars so I grew up around the race track, mechanic shops and an overall automotive centric mentality. Like many local track racing families, my Dad was very mechanically inclined. He was in every way a builder and inventor.
My Dad purchased my first car in 2000, a 1980s quarter midget, which he quickly repurposed to be competitive in current competition. This became a trend in the coming years where we built whatever we couldn't afford and needed to be competitive, or we figured out a different car set-up. It was all about making more out of less, and there were no excuses…just finding another method.
It was this mentality that got me started on the road to engineering. When I finally began to take over the big car team at 16 and had to learn and apply full car adjustment, this is when I really fell in love with the concept of innovation and mechanical manipulation. I thought, “If I can do this with a few wrenches, imagine what I could create with even more knowledge and skill!”
SWE: What was the moment that got you interested in engineering?
AB: Engineering really became a love after the first racing season where I was doing the majority of the maintenance on the race car and making car adjustments during the race. I loved seeing and feeling the changes we made and watching the car’s performance increase. It was then that the hunger to improve those skills and do more was born.
SWE: What is your goal for the next 10 years?
AB: Over the next 10 years my goal is to own a national open wheel race team, develop drivers and have a shop to design, build and create cars. Getting my degree in engineering combined with learning trade skills is all a part of building an innovative career in motorsports that contributes to future of the industry and the people in it.